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KC Man Tied to New York Bomb Plot

The FBI alleges that a Kansas City man was involved in a fledgling plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange. The case came up as an example of effective the government surveillance programs have been at foiling some 50 terrorist plots.

The Kansas City man is named Khalid Ouazzani. He sold his used auto parts store on Truman Road to raise money for al Qaida. He also laundered money and committed bank fraud, and ultimately came up with $23,000 for the organization. He pleaded guilty to all that in Kansas City in May of 2010.

Then, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, the deputy director of the FBI, Sean Joyce said the government surveillance had tied Ouazzani to a plan to bomb the NYSE. Jeff Lanza, a retired FBI special agent, in a phone interview, said the bomb plot must have been in the very early stages.

“Sounds to me like it didn’t go far enough to result in any charges being filed, because I can guarantee you, if there was anything chargeable here, the government would have charged him,” said Lanza.

Ouazzani has cooperated with the government in the bombing case, which is being handled in the New York. Lanza said that the plot must have been in the very early stages, because if the government had solid evidence that Ouazzani was working to help set a bomb off on Wall Street, they’d have charged him with it.

“I’m sure no one would stand up before congress and raise their right hand, and say we got this based on this surveillance program, unless they really believed it,” said Lanza. “If this is their best example though, it may not be the strongest one.”

Lanza says the government may be sharing classified information about other disrupted plots with lawmakers. Ouazzani faces sentencing for providing material support to a terrorist organization in Kansas City next month.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
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